Supplemental to Frank Schnittger’s new diary …

Comment on a David Aaronovitch column
by Frank Schnittger
Timesonline, 2007-06-02

[David Aaronovitch was one of the participants in the Doha debate; he wrote an online column with some interesting commentary about that debate.

One of the reader comments regarding that column was from one Frank Schnittger. It brings up a very standard pattern that arises whenever Israel is criticized; I know that I personally have had similar experiences when I participated in an online discussion group (Slate‘s Fray).

What appears below is the relevant part of Mr. Schnittger’s comment (emphasis is added).]

Having also been the victim of Zionist abuse (sometimes on this blog) whenever I raise the topic of Palestinian suffering I can empathise with how Norman Finkelstein feels.

Its not that it isn’t possible to build a rational case for a number of different points of view, but that, for some reason, a rational debate never even gets started.

The first response from my opponents is always to latch onto the fact I have a German sounding name and label me as a crypto (or not so crypto) Nazi sympathiser.

Personal abuse of the most vile sort invariably follows, and even on moderated blogs such as Timesonline, this is rarely censored, and even some mild retorts on my part have been ruled out of order.

It sometimes seems that any attempt at a rational analysis which uses generalisations about Israel is automatically deemed to be anti-semitic and racist [presumably he means uncomplimentary generalisations], whilst the most vile racist slurs by Zionists are regarded as fair or at least arguable comment.

However it is the ad hominem nature of the responses which is the most saddening, because it means that the argument is never progressed beyond the playground “who’s side are you on anyway?” level of debate.

More on Norman Finkelstein @Tikun Olam

A follow-up diary …

Europe: A Brave Judeo-Christian Continent

More below the fold …
Long ago …

When the Pond was still a community!

Froggy Bottom Cafe – Feb. 2015

Martin Longman is an editor and prolific writer for the Washington Monthly. Always had a following when he was at Daily Kos as Booman23. The Booman community too has lost all front pagers and has no ties to international writers or topics. One needs to toe the official Democratic party line …

[Cross-posted from EuroTrib – Oui]

Re: Oops! What am I still doing here? (none / 1)

As the name suggests, Booman is essentially a one man blog. I hope that doesn’t happen to ET. Martin seems to be gradually migrating to a paid position at the Washington Monthly with BT gradually becoming a legacy site or test bed for first drafts of stories.

Trump’s victory appears to have had a traumatising effect on the liberal blogosphere in the USA, silencing many and causing others, like Booman, to adopt much more conservative positions. No doubt there are many underground or emergent sites I am not aware of, but somehow it is hard to care any more.

I have written 64 stories on US politics in my time here but none for a year because the US seems almost beyond hope. Any country that could elect Trump, even with a seriously skewed and flawed electoral system, has some pretty basic problems that can’t be papered over by the marginal change of governance a (still somewhat unlikely) Democratic victory in the Mid-terms would imply.

In some ways I am reminded of when I did my Master’s thesis on Apartheid, inspired by the many political refugees from South Africa I had met in Ireland and the UK. I never dreamed of visiting South Africa while Apartheid was in force as I would have felt complicit in the system.

Now, if it were not for the many excellent US friends I have got, I would feel the same way about visiting the US.

by Frank Schnittger on Thu Nov 30th, 2017 at 09:45:55 AM PDT

A European perspective on Booman | EuroTrib – Sep. 28, 2014 |

Promoted by Steven D, and thank you Frank for your help.

Given Steven D’s impassioned pleas for content in Booman’s continued absence through illness I thought I’d break my vow of Omertà on all things USA which normally applies between Presidential election cycles. You see I have a certain resistance to writing about things I know little about and also have a strong sense that a countries own citizens have the primary right and responsibility to determine its policies free of interference from outsiders – well meaning or otherwise.

I make the exception of Presidential elections and some global issues like human rights and climate change because the election of “the leader of the free world” effects us all dramatically and often traumatically and because the USA state, whatever about its own citizenry, makes no bones about the fact that it regards the whole world as its back yard when it comes to dumping its externalities on others.

I also want to pay tribute to the extent to which Booman has informed my thinking on all matters of US politics. He’s up there with Paul Krugman as perhaps the most influential blogger and thinker shaping my world view on key issues of economics (Krugman) and US politics (Booman). Just as I sometimes take issue with Krugman’s politics (his recent ham-fisted interventions on Ukraine and Scotland in particular), I sometimes take issue with Booman’s take on economics which sometimes seems more influenced by the Chicago School of economics than by Keynes, Krugman, Stiglitz or Piketty.

(Continued below the fold)

But it is with Booman’s (often implicit and perhaps unconscious) embrace of American Exceptionalism that I have generally had the biggest problem: I simply don’t believe that America has some God given right or grace to impose its beliefs and values on others, or that it is in some way an inherently more moral nation.

Up until the mid 1960’s this would not have been a major point of departure for me. The USA had been born as a genuine revolution against colonial oppression, had fought a civil war (in part) against slavery and continued forms of colonial oppression, had struggled against continued racism, and had sought to promote personal freedom against more totalitarian ideologies abroad.

The USA had been slow to enter the First and second world wars, and when it did, did so for generally the right reasons. The post 1945 Marshall plan and generally non-punitive stance towards the defeated German and Japanese nations (despite the atrocities they perpetrated) did it great credit, and enabled the re-construction of Europe and Japan and the development of a more liberal and inclusive political cultures here and there. Even the cold war against Stalinism was defensible, and thanks to the much under-appreciated contribution of Gorbachev, eventually led to a good outcome.

But sometime around the mid 1960’s the USA’s influence on the world – always open to debate – seemed to me to switch from being predominantly for the good to being predominantly for the ill-being of mankind – the achievements of The Great Society and cultural icons like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen notwithstanding. Perhaps it was the assassinations of of JFK, RFK and MLK that were the pivotal moments, resulting in the escalations of the war in Vietnam and the gradual morphing of a racial struggle into a class struggle in the USA, making it now perhaps more of a class ridden society than the European societies it had so rightly denounced in its fight for independence.

Ironically it was the defeat of communism abroad and the resultant fear of social democracy at home which seemed to free the American elite from any concern for social justice, and allowed them to focus on a totally self-interested and self righteous quest for their own aggrandizement without regard to all others and without fear of political consequences. Perhaps best epitomized by the rise of Reaganism and neo-conservatism, the American elite engaged in a concerted campaign of installing brutal dictatorships abroad in support of their own corporate interests and waging a class war on their own people at home.

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